Recently I had a great conversation with my friend and songwriter Lindsay Katt about what music we’re both drawn to. For her, and for me, it’s songwriters who put ideas, feelings, emotions, and somewhat ethereal things into a clear and concise arrangement. These are people who somehow know exactly what is going on in our own minds and hearts and clearly convey that translation in ways we’re unable to.
That’s a special power that really dynamic songwriters possess. Lindsay has that ability, as does another good friend Elliott Park. So does Regina Spektor, and in my chat with Lindsay, she shared with me some lines from Regina’s new album that were just amazingly moving and powerful.
After hearing these lyrics, I had to investigate for myself.
In doing so I took in pieces of her new album All The Rowboats. I say I took in pieces because it was like trying to digest all of Vivaldi or Cormac McCarthy. There’s so much depth in one little slice that you have to take it in stages or you’ll just be overwhelmed. Or maybe that’s just me.
For the record, I have digested the whole album now. But since I began with specific tracks, I’m going to suggest a starting place for you in case you’re like me and want some direction in where to start.
With 2012 being and election year, politics are everywhere. For some people, it’s been campaign season since 2008. I’m really not into politics because it’s the same old song and dance from the same group collective. The only difference is each year they have a different face. You know how much I enjoy the same thing over and over again, so it makes sense that politics don’t do much for me. Which is what drew me to the song Ballad of a Politician. In poetic and accurate fashion, Regina breaks down the work of a politician and draws a similar line to what prostitutes do, going as far as to speak of them in the same language”
“Shake it shake it baby, shake your ass out in that street. You’re going to make ’em scream one day you’re going to make it big.”
Strange that politicians are often people with a platform we’ve heard before, seeking something from others that lasts such a brief moment (the vote). As I listened to this track it captured the frustration, feeling, and in someways anger I feel towards people who, while vying for leadership, make whores of themselves to garner something other than what they’re advertising.
Piano is Regina’s preferred instrument. So for her song Firewood, ironically she describes how her beloved music creation device hasn’t been burned…..yet. If her piano still has hope, so does someone who, possibly, has hope torn from them, such as one in a hospital room or at the end of a life filled with regret. The correlation between the loss of her piano and the loss of one’s purpose is uniquely described and beautifully rendered.
And the title track All The Rowboats provide the contagious melody along with an upbeat tempo that kept me plugged in for the duration of the ride. There’s not a description needed to hook you, the song does that on its own.
I’m going to be featuring selections from this album in our next radio program which you can hear on KACU, KTRL KVLU, and KURT this weekend or right HERE online. The episode will be titled Music Market, so check our Program Archives after August 16, 2012 if you want to hear it.